California’s Ban on Assault Weapons Overturned

On June 4, U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled that California’s definition of illegal military-style rifles unlawfully deprives law-abiding individuals access to weapons that are commonly allowed in most other states and by the U.S. Supreme Court. In overturning the state’s assault weapons ban, Judge Benitez called it a “failed experiment which does not achieve its objectives of preventing mass shootings or attacks on law enforcement officers.”

Throughout the 94-page ruling, Benitez praised the design of modern weapons. In the introduction he writes, “Like the Swiss Army knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment. Good for both home and battle.” According to Judge Benitez, “Under no level of heightened scrutiny can the law survive.”

Although a permanent injunction against enforcement of the law was issued by Judge Benitez, the state’s Attorney General, Rob Bonta, has 30 days to appeal the ruling. Both Governor Newsom and Bonta have condemned the decision and said they will pursue legal action to fight it. In a statement, Newsom said, “We’re not backing down from this fight, and we’ll continue pushing for common-sense gun laws that will save lives.”

The lawsuit was filed by the San Diego County Gun Owners Political Action Committee, California Gun Rights Foundation, Second Amendment Foundation, and Firearms Policy Coalition on behalf of gun owners who want to use high-capacity magazines in legal rifles or pistols, but can’t because doing so would turn them into illegal assault weapons under California’s strict gun laws.

According to the lawsuit, California is “one of only a small handful states to ban many of the most popular semiautomatic firearms in the nation because they possess one or more common characteristics, such as pistol grips and threaded barrels.”

In a statement, Brandon Combs, president of the Firearms Policy Coalition, praised the ruling, saying it “held what millions of Americans already know to be true: Bans on so-called ‘assault weapons’ are unconstitutional and cannot stand.”

Have You Been Accused of Illegal Possession of a Firearm?

At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, we are committed to helping clients of all backgrounds defend their constitutional rights. We know that California's strict gun laws not only prevent people from owning certain weapons but they can also result in serious criminal penalties. If you have been arrested for possession of an illegal firearm, please reach out to our firm today so we can help you devise a strong legal strategy to pursue justice.

Call our legal team today at (800) 462-7160 or contact us online to request a case consultation.